ABERCROMBIE — It is not quite yet time for Abercrombie Country Club to open the course that represents another milestone as the club marks its centennial, but it’s getting close.
The highlight for Abercrombie during its 100th anniversary is hosting the 2019 men’s amateur championship from July 5 to 7, and golf director Jonathan Garron said the course appears to have weathered winter well.
He estimated the pins can be installed on the greens to signify the club is open in the last full week of April. Several clubs in southern Nova Scotia are open already.
“The challenge is that you need to get the soil temperature up,” he said.
Hosting the men’s amateur will coincide with rule changes the Nova Scotia Golf Association has made. For one thing, the men’s amateur and the junior championship that will be played from July 9 to 11 at the Truro Golf Club will be 54-hole events, down from the previous 72 holes.
“I think it’s going to be good for participation,” Garron said. “We’ll be playing the men’s amateur from Friday through Sunday and, personally, I think it will be easier for people to get away from work and not have to take vacation time. Being at Abercrombie for our centennial, it’s going to be a very popular event anyway, but I like it.”
The NSGA used the rationale in a press release announcing the change in March that the decision reflected feedback from competitors and parents that it would reduce travel and other costs. It also guarantees golfers three rounds of golf and allows clubs a quicker turnaround for their members.
Garron said the fact that the 2019 Canadian men’s amateur championship is in Nova Scotia is an extra incentive for golfers to contest the provincial championship.
Nova Scotia gets nine spots, including three on the provincial team, he said.
Garron said he also likes NSGA’s rule changes, such as dropping a ball from the knee instead of the shoulder if a ball is lost or goes out of bounds, the option of leaving the pin in the cup when the ball lands on the green and allowing golfers to ground clubs in sand traps and other hazards.
“I think it will be good,” he said. “It’s partly about speeding up the pace of play.”
The NSGA is conducting a Level II rules seminar from April 26 to 28 at the Glen Arbour Golf Club.
Pictou County golfers can attend Level I seminars near them in Antigonish from noon to 2 p.m. and Truro from 4 to 6 p.m. on May 9.
Director of golf Jonathan Garron takes a swing beside the first tee at the Abercrombie Country Club. (Goodwin photo)